Careers in Youth & Family Ministry and Work
Though no one can guarantee a job, the market for trained youth and family workers is very strong and appears to be so in the immediate future. Churches have realized that the only thing worse than not having a youth, children’s, or family pastor is to have one that doesn't know what he or she is doing. Our program has an excellent reputation and many new inquiries regarding our graduating students EVERY YEAR.
At the end of this page, please use LINKS to see current jobs available (locally and across the world) in Youth, Children’s, and Family Ministry/Work Careers. There are many!
Youth & Family Studies students seek and find employment in a broad variety of youth or family ministry settings:
- Church Youth Ministry
High School Youth Ministry
Middle School Youth Ministry
- Church Young Adult Ministry
- Para-church Youth Ministry (Young Life-YL, Youth for Christ-YFC, Young Lives, Fellowship of Christian Athletes-FCA, Child Evangelism Fellowship-CEF, Teen Mops, etc.)
- Urban Youth Ministry (Center for Student Missions, Rescue Missions, etc.)
- Para-church Young Adult Ministry (Campus Crusade for Christ, Intervarsity, Navigators, Disciple Makers, Athletes in Action, etc.)
- Family Ministry or Services (in the church and in organizations like Focus on the Family, Family Research Council, and many varying Family Services fields, etc.)
- Youth Missions (overseas youth ministry- YWAM, AIM, many others)
- Youth Work Overseas (in the U.K. there are many varying types of government youth work positions needed; Peace Corps, etc.)
- Military Chaplaincy and various other chaplaincy options
- Agency Counselors or Directors (Salvation Army, Goodwill Industries, etc.)
- Youth Work in the U.S. (YMCA, Big Brothers-Big Sisters, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Boys and Girls Club, etc.)
- At Risk Youth (Group Homes, Juvenile Detention Programs, Wilderness Adventure, etc.)
- Camping & Recreation (Camps and Many Recreation Programs)
- Graduate School (Divinity, Child & Family, Marriage & Family, Counseling)
Job and Salary Realities- Graduate earnings within the field
Group Magazine March/April 2012 provides one of the most recent surveys across the country on what those in the youth ministry field can expect to earn. According to the survey the average salary for someone under age 25 was $32,100.00 and for those between 40 and 45, $59,500. The average salary for someone in ministry under 5 years was $31,800, between 16 and 20 years was $51,800.00.
The average salary for someone with a High School degree was $20,000.00, an undergraduate degree was $35,100.00, and Master’s Degree was $42,900.00. The average salary in the North East was $35,800.00. The average number of sick days allotted was 7, and paid vacation days was 13. Almost 80% of youth leaders feel confident in their abilities to pay their bills, with another 18% somewhat confident. 72% believe that their salaries are fair, while 57% of youth pastors who asked for raises received them. Many Youth Pastors also receive compensation in these semi-common ways: health insurance, housing allowance, pension, continuing education, travel, cell phone plan, and/or use of a parsonage.
While the Group article indicated a decrease in full time jobs available today, compared to 5 years ago, that belief must relate more to who is responding to Group’s survey than what is happening in reality. We (Nyack’s YFS Dept.) had more calls for full time youth ministry positions than we had graduating students. Len and I both also received phone calls from several Youth Ministry colleagues at other institutions asking if we had any available students- as they could not meet position demands either. Ministry positions available at job sites also seem to contradict Group’s belief (see all of the links below and check them out for yourself).
As a side-note, the wealthiest people in America (top 1%) were recently surveyed to see what undergraduate college majors most of them chose for study. Seven majors were most frequently identified. Right beside “Economics” and “Finance” was the 5th most common major- “religious” studies. “In studying specific faiths…students gain knowledge about the nature of religion in general and its role in the life of individuals and societies.” [Greg Scott Neuman, (2012), 7 Majors that can put you in the top 1% of Earners; U.S. News University Directory, referring to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey of 2010.]
We do not want students to study within the College of Bible and Christian Ministry, in Youth & Family Studies, just to get wealthy! And we do not guarantee they will. But, the type of education provided in the YFS program helps our students to truly mature individually and socially, and have a great advantage in securing employment upon graduation. Our graduates also benefit personally and familially, no matter what career choices they make.
We update our YFS job bulletin board every semester with new available positions. All positions posted come from those who contact us! Once again (2014), we had/have more positions available through personal contacts than we had/have graduating seniors. We need more students interested in serving families, youth, and children in ministry/work. *Children’s ministry positions are trending better than in the last 10 years.
Visit the site through the link; you can search by job title, by denomination, by region of the country, by specific position desired, and other criteria.
When on this site, you can search simply by clicking on the tabs of interest (Para-church ministries, Discipleship, College, Small Group, Young Adult, Christian Education, Children’s Ministry, Youth Pastor, Family Pastor, Media/Technology, Associate Pastor, etc.) or, like the others- by key words, locations, and categories. Stays up to Date! (Example, on 3/10/2014 there were 80 new postings for full time Youth Leaders- posted after 1/28/2014.)
LINK: www.churchstaffsearch.com OR
When you visit these sites, you can search by category, location, denomination, and even worship style. You can also search by job type. Most recent postings listed first.
This site advertises for many (more than 20 are highlighted) wilderness adventure organizations seeking those interested in working with at-risk youth and young adults. MANY opportunities for work in this field exist all over the United States, including Hawaii and Alaska. One can type in the zip code of the area in which he or she wishes to work (while also providing some other data), and they’ll identify jobs available relative to preferred locations and interests.
When visiting this site, type “family” into the “WHAT” Box. Varying opportunities in family services pop up. You’ll have to scroll through carefully, eliminating the positions which require graduate degrees- There are many job possibilities which do not.
“A pastor advised me not to pursue a job in ministry through websites- as all jobs are secured through personal networking. My YFS faculty advised me differently. So I went onto one of the job-search sites listed on the YFS website and sent out some resumes. With-in one month, I had advanced to late-round interviews with three different churches; I accepted one offer, and withdrew from consideration in the others. Today, I’m gratefully serving as a Youth Pastor in Ohio- and am very glad I used the websites."
Matt Ryhnehart (’12)
“I’m happy with my salary ($70,000-ish), and of course, I hope that it continues to increase as my experience increases. My package also includes a house to live in, health coverage, retirement, and personal ministry expense reimbursement of $2,000. As for my youth ministry, I have a $9,500 Budget, another $3,000 for ministry transportation rental needs, and $3,500 for a summer intern. Got a good one?”
Alum in N.Y. metro area (’00)
"As a young person, I knew God had called me to ministry, but wasn’t sure where. When I took a youth ministry course at Nyack College my direction became much clearer. Academically, my understanding of youth and family work broadened dramatically; personally, my walk with God matured. The support and guidance from my professors were extremely invaluable! Furthermore, the camaraderie among my classmates made my experience even more enjoyable. Joining the Youth & Family Studies department at Nyack College is easily one of the best decisions I’ve ever made!."
Brittany Kimlingen (’10), Youth Program Supervisor, The City Mission (Laura’s Home for Women and Children’s Crisis Center), Cleveland, Ohio